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Empowerment Starts With Effective Decisions

I recently conducted several sessions for an international bottling and beverage distributor. The focus of the sessions was to improve the leadership tools that were being used by both front line and middle management. As an introduction to the session the Vice President of Manufacturing spoke of the need to empower employees, absolving front line leadership of the perception that they needed to personally attend to every single task that required execution.

The session went well, but it struck me that there was still a gap that had not been addressed that would hinder the ability of leadership to empower employees, that being the decision making process. The process within which decisions are made will determine the degree of speed, quality and relevance of decisions within the organization. Critical to both employee empowerment and productivity.

When constructing your organizational decision making process, ensure the following considerations are incorporated:

1. Define what the critical components are in an effective decision (i.e. clarity, validity).
2. Define what constitutes organizational value (i.e. strategic goals, customer value).
3. Identify the level of empowerment assigned to leadership (i.e. escalation boundaries).
4. Define the employee empowerment boundaries (i.e. self directed decisions).
5. Specify how decision velocity can be improved (i.e. initiate planned communications).

If the decision making process is not documented and communicated, it's difficult to ever achieve true empowerment either at the employee or leadership level. So if improving upon employee empowerment is an objective, then consider how to integrate the questions above into your decision making process. Faster and more effective decisions are the only possible outcome.

© Shawn Casemore 2013. All rights reserved.

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